Father’s Day Present –
Growing up without a Dad is rough. Being sixteen and no Dad to guide you would be even rougher. That is what makes my Dad’s gift to me even more remarkable. When Mom announced she was pregnant with me, his cancer would soon hit stage IV. When they told him it was going to be a boy, it had hit stage IV. The family went out, at his request, and grabbed a video camera and a bunch of tapes. As he sat in his room, or getting chemo, or on the back porch, Dad would record thoughts, stories, and all sorts of topics that might come up for me and in my life. Each video was arranged by a title. I went through it all numerous times in my life, so at some point, I had his guidance.
Mom remarried. She married a man who knew my Dad and my Mom. He is a very kind man and I call him Dad. I have a couple of half-siblings whom I dearly love. And my step dad is cool with them too. I have two little sisters and an annoying little brother who means the world to me. He wants me to play catch with him all the time. But, none of them, yet, knows my terrible secret. For, from about the age of six or seven, I knew nature had made a mistake. I was supposed to be a girl. I found ways and times over the years to explore my true nature. Sadly, it seemed, all of Dad’s tapes never dealt with that.
Mom was cooking dinner in our kitchen. I had come home from school and was getting ready to do my homework. I needed an emotional boost and was looking for the video tape where my dad talked about his high school years.
“Mom, where are Dad’s tapes. I can’t find them anywhere.”
“I’m sorry Kevin. I have sent them all out to be transferred to computer files. I was going to surprise you. Do you mind?”
“Mom, that is a terrific idea. Thank you. How soon will they be ready?”
“They said a couple of weeks.”
At the end of the month, I came home to find a box at our door from UPS. I picked it up and went inside. “Kevin, could you come downstairs please?” Mom, shouted out.
I scurried downstairs and found her crying in the living room. “What’s up Mom?”
“Oh, the transfers. Here is a disk of all the tapes. Sorry, I just realized that in making the transfer I will have to do something with these tapes. I know it sounds silly, but I want to keep them.”
“I understand, Mom. They are the only things left of Dad.”
My step dad, Phil, looked up from reading the newspaper. “Kevin, I hear you smoked them in debate. Have you thought about what I said about going into law?”
“Yes, Dad. I like the idea. But, I still have two years before I graduate. And we have to figure out how to pay for college for all of us.”
“True. But keep an open mind. My brother says you have the makings of a fine legal mind. By the way, do you mind if your Mom and I go on a date tonight? I could use you as a babysitter again.”
“Sure. And thank you.”
“Taking good care of Mom like you do. And me too. I really appreciate it.”
“You are a good son. I just wish your Dad could have seen you all grown up. I think he would have been proud.” I saw Phil get teary eyed. He got up and gave me a hug. “It was rough to watch him die. He was a good man. I see so much of him in you too, just like your Mom does.”
I went upstairs and put the disk into my laptop and transferred all the files onto my hard drive. It took a while. I then transferred them to a micro-sd card and put them onto my tablet. I pulled up VLC and started to go through the list of titles. The transcriber had done a faithful job of transferring each one with the appropriate title.
I could see, “My first time making love.” Didn’t need that one yet. I could see “Jingle Bells” where he did a sing along with me so we could do Christmas caroling together. And then, something caught my eye. A title I hadn’t seen before. “Just in case you are a girl.”
Mom was walking into my room at that point and putting my laundry on my bed. “Mom, Dad had this title ‘Just in case you are a girl.’ How come I never saw that?”
“Oh, he recorded that in case they got the ultrasound wrong. I never put it out for you to watch because it wasn’t necessary. I kept it for sentimental reasons. I forgot about it, actually.”
I put on my headphones and began to listen to words I had never heard before from my Dad.
“Daughter, in case the doctors got it wrong, I just want to say that I hope my tapes are still valuable to you. There are two reasons they could have gotten it wrong. One, they read the ultrasound wrong. Two, you were a girl born into a boy’s body. I know about this last one because I knew someone in high school who was that way. It tore their family apart. I don’t want that to happen to mine. If you are that kind of girl, then there is a message at the end of the tape for you and your Mom. Okay, Daughter, here is what ...” I clicked to stop the message.
I spent the next few minutes finding the message at the end of the tape. I cued it up to listen. “Sharon, this part of the tape is for you. Please listen and say nothing. If Kevin has brought this to you, he needs you to listen to what I have to say. You may or may not know it, but Kevin is actually a girl born in a boy’s body. Because this is the case, I want her name to be Melody because she will make your heart sing with joy. Melody needs you to hear this ...” For the next ten minutes, I sat there and cried at his beautiful words of love and compassion. My Dad laid out the case for what he would do and how I was to be treated. He covered it all. He loved me from the grave as I actually was and I never knew it until now.
For the first time in my life, I had something I had never had before. My Dad just didn’t leave me a series of tapes to help me with life, he left me a present because he couldn’t be in my present.
The next day, I began my wonderful journey to becoming my Dad's daughter, Melody. I asked Mom to come in my room and sit down. I clicked the play button and shared with her my precious Father’s Day Present.
Copyright © 2017 by AuP reviner
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